Breath Testing

Breath testing is one of the tools that Meriden police use when determining if a person is driving under the influence. But how accurate are these tests, really? On this page, you can learn more about the accuracy and reliability of breath tests and how to challenge them if your case goes to court.


Driving under the influence in Meriden is considered a serious offense because it poses public safety risks. Meriden police try to combat impaired driving in many ways. One such way is by using breath testing techniques, whether when they pull a driver over or later at the police station. While this is a common approach to determining if someone is driving under the influence, there are many holes in the breath testing science and system that should be considered. If the police are using breath test results against you in a Meriden DUI case, learn more about protecting yourself with this information.

Meriden Breath Testing

While there is a standardized process for breath testing in Meriden and throughout the state of Connecticut, officers and other professionals can make mistakes, significantly impacting the results of these tests. Upon observing a driver’s behavior and establishing certain factors that could mean that the driver is impaired, the officer may ask the driver to take a breath test. Keep in mind that Connecticut follows implied consent laws, so there is a penalty for refusing the breath test. You should consult with a Meriden DUI lawyer to determine if it is best in your situation to take the test or refuse.

If the driver submits to the breath test, it will then be administered. The driver will be asked to breath into a breathalyzer device. Multiple breath samples should be taken to determine the driver’s sobriety while they were operating their vehicle. The breathalyzer devices use fuel cell technology or infrared spectroscopy in order to measure the amount of alcohol in a subject’s breath and therefore determine if they were over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. In Connecticut, this limit is .08% for those over the age of 21. Connecticut has a zero tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21, so any detection of alcohol in a person’s breath will result in consequences. Also consider the the BAC is different for those who hold Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs). Check out our Bridgeport CDL drivers page to learn more about limitations for CDL holders.

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Testing Accuracy

While the breath testing process may seem scientific, there are many ways in which breath tests can be inaccurate and unreliable. Even though these devices are supposed to be regularly calibrated and maintained, this is not always the case. Breathalyzer devices can malfunction and lead to errors in the results.

In addition, human error may be a factor. Police officers or other personnel could conduct the test inappropriately, compromising the results. Even if the test is administered properly, the results could be documented inaccurately.

Finally, consider all of the factors that are involved in testing which could impact the test results. Anything recently consumed by the driver could alter the results. This might be the case if the driver was chewing gum, had just used mouthwash or brushed their teeth, if they have vomit residue in their mouth, etc. etc. Even using hand sanitizer on hands has been known to skew breath testing results. All of these factors, in addition to lung capacity, how long the driver blows into the machine, etc. could have an impact on the test results.

Challenging Breath Test Results

As you can see, there are many ways that a Meriden breath test can be inaccurate. If you took a breath test, you should consult with a local lawyer to determine if there were any errors in your testing. The results of the breath test could be thrown out of court. At the very least, your attorney could raise questions as to the test accuracy. For more information on building a Meriden DUI defense, contact us.

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